Sunday, December 18, 2016

Electoral College: Perform Your Task Wisely

Many people seem confused by the process of selecting a President.

At no point has this country been other than a republic of states, and the US Constitution specifies the means for those states to elect a President. That process is the Electoral College.

No matter what is on your ballot when you vote, you are not voting for a President. You are voting for an elector, a member of the Electoral College.  ALL your voting takes place within your state. There is no vote for a national office.

Tomorrow the Electoral College meets to vote for the next President.

I pray and hope that it exercises this task with utmost care and diligence, and does not merely make its selection because of a misconstrued sense that the "public" voted for one person or another. The public did not vote for anything more than the electors.

Electoral College: this is your opportunity to confirm the wisdom of our Founding Fathers.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Let Math Test Questions Test MATH!

Here is a portion of the New York State Grade 5 Mathematics Reference Sheet:
Here is a question from New York State's 2016 Grade 5 Mathematics Test Released Questions:

Thank goodness that New York does not allow for calculators on this test, as the only mathematics being tested is the division of 240 by 4. Everything else is reading comprehension. Careful patient reading, as any student familiar with aquariums (aquaria, if you wish) would know that they size is typically communicated in gallons (at least in the US) and would then question the strangeness of this so called "pet store."

If scores on this test are used to measure (determine?) students' mathematics knowledge and skills, the test should be focused on those skills and that knowledge.

I entered the first sentence of the question into Microsoft Word and let it supply the readability statistics, and it measure the sentence at the Flesh-Kincaid Grade level of 7.6.  I then took the same sentence to https://readability-score.com  and it came back with these:

Please, then, at least accept the possibility that a student's reading abilities might, just might, have a bigger effect on their answering of this question than does their mathematical talents.

By the way, the results on readability for the previous sentence is here:

Does this question belong in a MATH test?

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Math without GeoGebra is like a day without sunshine!

It might be the right time of year to push the use of GeoGebra as a classroom presentation tool. I created this interactive file back in March of this year, and pull it out now with a request for teachers to send in ideas for modifications of this file, or suggestions for new files (send to dave(at)davemath.com.  This file can be found here.
Any and all GeoGebra files can be downloaded and modified. 
GeoGebra is totally dynamic and its use is limited only by your imagination!